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Here’s the difference between mythical and legendary Pokemon

by | Feb 25, 2022

Reading Time: 3 min.
Reading Time: 3 min.

Fans of Pokemon are obsessed with rarity, and no other categories of Pokemon are rarer than mythicals and legendaries. But what’s the difference between a mythical and a legendary Pokemon, and how many are there?

Pokemon are loosely categorized in several ways, with one of the most awkward distinctions being between mythical and legendary Pokemon. Both are strong and both are rare, but for casual players and TCG fans there isn’t really any way to tell the difference between them. So what are the differences between these two Pokemon classes? Here’s how to tell the difference.

Mythical vs. legendary Pokemon: What’s the difference?

Mythical and legendary Pokemon are different in terms of their total base stats and how they’re obtained.

Mythical Pokemon uniformly have 600 total base stats. These base stats can be distributed in different ways, but the total is consistent across all mythical Pokemon. Many early mythical Pokemon including Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, and Shaymin had 100 points for all six base stats. Since then, mythicals have had their stats distributed unevenly, making them much stronger than the classic jacks-of-all-trades of past generations.

mew is a legendary pokemon
Mew was the original mythical Pokemon.

To compare, “sub-legendary” Pokemon including Urshifu, Zapdos, and Tapu Koko have base stats that range from 550 to 600. Legendary Pokemon generally have base stats that range from 650 to 700, but there are some exceptions. In a battle of mythical Pokemon vs. legendary Pokemon, legendaries would come out on top in most matchups.

The other key difference between mythicals and legendaries is the method players can use to catch them. Legendary Pokemon are typically special encounters in a Pokemon game, while mythicals are distributed through special events.

Some mythicals that were originally distributed via events are catchable as part of a game’s story, such as Arceus in Pokemon Legends: Arceus and Deoxys in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. But overall, mythicals tend to be much rarer than legendary Pokemon.

What are sub-legendary Pokemon?

Sub-legendary Pokemon are Pokemon that count as legendary, but are not restricted in game modes like the Battle Tree or Battle Tower.

Legendary Pokemon can have a very broad range of total base stats, ranging from Urshifu’s 550 to Black Kyurem’s 700. This difference has led Game Freak to ban or restrict the usage of the strongest Pokemon in competitive formats, with these Pokemon being referred to as “restricted.” Sub-legendary Pokemon are those that are legendary but don’t face these restrictions.

Thundurus, Tornadus, and Landorus in Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Trio legendaries have fallen within the sub-legendary categories.

Legendaries that are parts of “trios” such as the legendary birds of generation one and the Swords of Justice from generation five have all been categorized as sub-legendaries. Various other legendary Pokemon are also categorized as sub-legendaries, including Latios and Latias, Spectrier and Glastrier, and the Guardian Deities.

Legendaries that have comparatively low base stats that can change form to become more powerful are still categorized as full legendaries. This includes Kyurem, Zygarde, Necrozma, and Calyrex. Alongside this, Cosmog and Cosmoem are both categorized as legendary despite not being powerful until after their evolution.

How many mythical Pokemon are there?

There are 22 mythical Pokemon as of generation eight.

The full list of mythical Pokemon includes:

  • Mew
  • Celebi
  • Jirachi
  • Deoxys
  • Manaphy
  • Phione
  • Darkrai
  • Shaymin
  • Arceus
  • Victini
  • Keldeo
  • Meloetta
  • Genesect
  • Diancie
  • Hoopa
  • Volcanion
  • Magearna
  • Marshadow
  • Zeraora
  • Meltan
  • Melmetal
  • Zarude
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